" Birth, n.: The first and direst of all disasters. "
Ambrose Bierce

Back in the day


Roger Bannister Breaks Four-Minute Mile

Bannister was a British medical student when he became the first man to run the mile in less than four minutes—a barrier many experts had long considered unbreakable. His official time was 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds. Australia's John Landy and New Zealand's Peter Snell bettered the record that year, but in August, Bannister defeated Landy at the British Empire Games in Vancouver, clocking 3:58.8 in a thrilling race. For his accomplishments, Bannister became the first to earn what honor?



Hadaka Matsuri

Hadaka Matsuri—literally, "naked festival"—is a Shinto tradition observed all over Japan, usually not long after New Year's Day. Rituals related to its observance vary, but one custom that remains consistent is the dress code. For the most part, participants wear nothing more than a traditional white fundoshi, or loincloth. One particularly unusual ritual involves them chasing a fully naked man who has been specially selected for the event. What is this intended to accomplish?

Born on a day like today


Moshe Feldenkrais

Feldenkrais was a Russian-born Israeli physicist and engineer who was also an avid soccer player and a judo master. Motivated by a debilitating knee injury of his own, Feldenkrais developed a system to improve body movement and function and reduce pain by increasing self-awareness and re-educating the neuromuscular system. Since its introduction in the 1950s, the Feldenkrais method has gradually gained acceptance. Which statesman did Feldenkrais allegedly teach to stand on his head?

Last updated on Monday, 6th May 2013

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